CROSS­ING THE RUBICON

A Hat­teras GT63 cruises — on her own bot­tom — from Ber­muda to the Azores, re­fu­el­ing three times dur­ing the transat­lantic.

Yachting - - CURRENTS - By Kim Kavin

Capt. john crupi feared the “what ifs.” It was, af­ter all, be­lieved to be the first time a boat of this kind might do what he was pre­par­ing to do with Post One. ¶ She’s a Hat­teras GT63 with a 1,900-gal­lon fuel ca­pac­ity that will get her to the canyons at 40-plus knots, but not across oceans. And yet, that’s what her owner wanted. ¶ The crew had en­dured a few bad ex­pe­ri­ences in 15 years of tow­ing a 45-footer, and trans­port ships didn’t of­fer routes near the grounds the owner wanted to fish. So, the idea was to cruise Post One on her own bot­tom 4,085 miles from Panama to Ber­muda to the Azores, in tan­dem with the owner’s moth­er­ship, the 148-foot Cheoy Lee Dorothea III. The team had to fig­ure out how to trans­fer diesel to the Hat­teras from the moth­er­ship’s re­serves. ¶ Un­der­way. Three times dur­ing the trip from Ber­muda to the Azores alone.

At 1,500 gal­lons a pop. ¶ First, they tested a side-by-side setup, but wakes from both boats cre­ated havoc. Then they tossed a mes­sen­ger line with a mon­key’s fist at the end to the Hat­teras’ bow. “We pre­tended that the mes­sen­ger line was a fuel hose, to see if we could keep it there at 10 knots,” Crupi says. ¶ That worked in seas up to 6 feet, so the sys­tem be­came at­tach­ing a fuel line to the mes­sen­ger line. Crew would con­nect it to a spe­cial fit­ting and open a valve to trans­fer fuel. Post One got nail-bit­ing low on fuel once as they waited out 6- to 8-foot­ers, but “from that point,” Crupi says, “it was pretty easy.” ¶ They’re ready to do it again, on Novem­ber’s re­turn cross­ing to Brazil — 3,000-plus miles. ¶ “We’re an ag­gres­sive pro­gram,” Crupi told Yacht­ing from the Azores in Au­gust, shortly af­ter hook­ing up a 700-pound blue mar­lin. “It’s not for the faint of heart.”

WE PRE­TENDED THAT THE MES­SEN­GER LINE WAS A FUEL HOSE, TO SEE IF WE COULD KEEP IT THERE AT 10 KNOTS.

Views like this one from a Hat­teras GT63 sis­ter­ship are vir­tu­ally all the Post One crew had for about 4,000 miles.

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